With all the Petersons, Andersons, and Johnsons around the Badger State, what last names are the most common in Wisconsin? How common are those last names compared to the overall population of the state? 

Utilizing a series of data points like birth, marriage, and death information from around the state, the website Forebears.io lists Johnson as the top surname in Wisconsin. This is followed by Smith, which comes in at a somewhat distant second.

Of the 5.758 million people that live in Wisconsin, almost 46,000 have the last name Johnson. That works out to 1 in roughly every 127 people in the state having that surname. As far as Smith goes, almost 31,000 people have that last name. That means that about 1 in every 189 people has this last name.

According to Ancestry.com, Johnson is English and Scottish in origin. The name is patronymic from the personal name John. For Smith, Ancestry.com says it is also English in origin. It is an occupational name for a worker in metal, from Middle English smith (Old English smið, probably a derivative of smitan ‘to strike, hammer’). Ancestry.com goes on to explain that this is the most frequent of all American surnames.

Here is the listing of the top 30 last names in Wisconsin, according to forebears.io:

  1. Johnson
  2. Smith
  3. Anderson
  4. Miller
  5. Olson
  6. Nelson
  7. Peterson
  8. Brown
  9. Williams
  10. Jones
  11. Schmidt
  12. Schultz
  13. Thompson
  14. Davis
  15. Martin
  16. Larson
  17. Meyer
  18. Hanson
  19. Krueger
  20. Hansen
  21. Wilson
  22. Mueller
  23. Lee
  24. Schroeder
  25. Clark
  26. Thomas
  27. Wagner
  28. Schneider
  29. Taylor
  30. Weber